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Integrating the monoamine and cytokine hypotheses of depression: Is histamine the missing link?
European Journal of Neuroscience  (IF3.386),  Pub Date : 2021-07-15, DOI: 10.1111/ejn.15392
Melinda Hersey, Parastoo Hashemi, Lawrence P. Reagan

Psychiatric diseases, like depression, largely affect the central nervous system (CNS). While the underlying neuropathology of depressive illness remains to be elucidated, several hypotheses have been proposed as molecular underpinnings for major depressive disorder, including the monoamine hypothesis and the cytokine hypothesis. The monoamine hypothesis has been largely supported by the pharmaceuticals that target monoamine neurotransmitters as a treatment for depression. However, these antidepressants have come under scrutiny due to their limited clinical efficacy, side effects, and delayed onset of action. The more recent, cytokine hypothesis of depression is supported by the ability of immune-active agents to induce “sickness behaviour” akin to that seen with depression. However, treatments that more selectively target inflammation have yielded inconsistent antidepressive results. As such, neither of these hypotheses can fully explain depressive illness pathology, implying that the underlying neuropathological mechanisms may encompass aspects of both theories. The goal of the current review is to integrate these two well-studied hypotheses and to propose a role for histamine as a potential unifying factor that links monoamines to cytokines. Additionally, we will focus on stress-induced depression, to provide an updated perspective of depressive illness research and thereby identify new potential targets for the treatment of major depressive disorder.